#294: SPECIAL: Getting Back Our Curiosity

On a recent Monday Memo I shared two questions: What is a business? What is an accountant?

If you’ve ever asked these questions to a classroom full of 10- and 11-year olds you get a load of hands go up, they’re bursting to throw something out there, even if it’s a guess or not. I love that curiosity and eagerness to learn. However, ask the same questions in a lecture hall to a group of undergraduates or even postgraduates and that same enthusiasm, just doesn’t seem to be there. So what’s changed? Where has that curiosity and eagerness gone?

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” James Stephens

So in this week’s episode we are joined on four prior guest mentors Marcus Thelwell, Khaled Chowdhury, Andi Lonnen and Indran Purushothaman who help us better understand the value of curiosity in Finance & Accounting and share with us practical ways on how we can be curious. We cover:

– What the premium of curiosity looks like

– How understanding the end to end of a business helps our curiosity.

– Where curiosity fits in the 9 skills required in this Age of the Accountant.

– The importance of having curiosity about what we’re doing on a daily basis.

Our Guest Mentors:                                                        

MARCUS THELWELL is a business transformation manager at Deloitte in their Financial Advisory business as a Transformation Manager – where he works to improve profitability, employee experience and client experience through more modern ways of working. Marcus had worked between both Europe and Australia over the past eight years developing his Finance and commercial understanding working with globally recognised clients and also internally working with a range of industry renowned partners.

Marcus also holds CGMA and CPA designations and lives in Sydney, Australia.

Outside of work, Marcus is Deputy Chair of the Sydney CPA Young Professionals Committee, is a keen musician (writing, playing , listening and watching) and has recently become a (novice) triathlete.

KHALED CHOWDHURY is an accomplished and visionary Global Finance Leader with a proven track record of achieving new heights through collaboration and an infusion of technology that enhances organizational capacity and strengthens capabilities with significant experience in the Energy & Chemicals Manufacturing industry.

Khaled also sits on the advisory council of the Association for Financial Professionals as well as being a circle leader for the FP&A Trends Group.

His core interests are in Strategic Planning, Forecasting & Budgeting, Financial Analysis, Business Analysis, Process Optimization, Financial Modeling, Financial Reporting.

Khaled holds a CMA designation, is a Certified Corporate FP&A Professional Certified as well as a Six Sigma Green Belt. Khaled lives with his family in Malaysia.

ANDI LONNEN is an International Trainer with a trademark upbeat & enthusiastic approach delivering her training in an easily understood and engaging manner with skills that can be implemented in the workplace immediately. She is a conference speaker on high profile conferences & events including for the NHS, ACCA, CIMA, AAT, Growth Accelerator, Women Leaders Association, Forward Ladies, Thrive Yorkshire and many more. An Author of ‘Be Fabulous at Finance’ published by Oodlebooks & a cycle touring book! She also published articles like Finance Director, FT Adviser, Business Money, Women Leaders Association, Kent Women in Business, AAT, ACCA. Chaired ACCA Business Leaders Forum, Corporate Sector Network, Yorkshire Women’s Network over 10 years.

Andi is a fully qualified FCCA accountant with many years’ financial experience to Commercial Finance Director level in addition to being a qualified ILM trainer.

INDRAN PURUSHOTHAMAN has built a global finance career from launching new operations to transformation and corporate finance fundraising. He is a CPA from Australia with a master in applied finance and a certified in Project management. What stood up from his career was a mindset of curiosity, commercial acumen and taking calculative risks for the appropriate rewards. He has lived across multiple continents from Asia to the west and visited more than 50 countries.

Outside work he enjoys reading up on international relations, history and management. He has a very active lifestyle and loves sports especially indoor cycling, field hockey and football.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he left Cambodia where he was the interim CFO for Urban living solutions and has just returned to Australia.

Key Points From the Episode:

– Three steps we can take to get back to basics and not take particularly avoiding a family P&L

– Where FP&A need to hold the fort down to make things easier and more valuable.

– What Mediterranean sailors and EBITDA can teach us about common language in FP&A to communicate effectively.

– Why data analytics is good but not right now and why it’s important to get more stuck into Excel

– Why heatmaps and gauges will not fascinate CFOs.

Time Stamped Show Notes

#114: Giving The Next Generation The Room To Unlock Value in Finance with Marcus Thelwell


[02:26] – Marcus deconstructs three things new entrants to finance can do immediately to start unlocking value for organisations.

[04:40] – The importance and benefits of new entrants being inquisitive and curiosity about what we’re doing on a daily basis.

[07:28] – A great example on how to keep finance professionals motivated to run mundane finance processes.

#132: How To Not Get Left Behind with Khaled Chowdhury


[09:31] – Khaled’s parting thoughts and why it’s okay to be a little alarmed and the best asset you can invest in.

[14:42] – Why there’s a premium on curiosity and a good example of the impact of this

#228: The Age of the Accountant with Andi Lonnen


[17:00] – 9C’s of skills to get the best out this golden Age of the Accountant;

· Communicating

· Connecting and Collaborating

· Clear Thinking

· Change Agent

· Constructive Ways

· Computer/Technology/Digitalization

· Curiosity

· Calm, confident and in Control

· Competent Finance Professional

[22:45] – Find out what you’re good at and what needs to improve based on these 9C’s.

#258: On top of ROI with Indran Purushothaman


[22:43] – Mentoring and developing people is part of Indran’s role and building a team that is;

– Curious

– Open-Minded

– People who can collaborate

[24:19] – Providing value in the organization in the midst of pandemic.

[25:43] – Navigating in this crisis together with the business by understanding it form end to end.


Connect with today’s guests:

LinkedIn Profiles:

Marcus: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcusthelwell/

Khaled: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khaledchowdhury/

Andi: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andilonnen/

Indy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/indranpurushothaman/

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